Recorded in the spellings of Bousfell, Bousfield and Busfield, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the hamlet of 'Bousfield' eight miles from the town of Appleby in Cumberland. The hamlet name is a Norse-English compound, the region being controlled by the Vikings for several centuries upto the Norman Invasion of 1066. The first element of the name is from the Old Norse "buske", meaning a bush or shrub, and the second element is from the Old English pre 7th Century word "feld", meaning open country. Presumably the original 'buske' must have been a very prominent 'bush', suggesting that the hamlet was probably a tribal or civil meeting place. Locational surnames were given either to the lord of the manor, or more often to people who migrated from their birth place to another area. An easy means of identification was for their new neighbours to call them after their former home. Early examples of the surname recording taken from church and civil registers, include Stephen Bousfell of Westmoreland in 1541, Bartholomew Bousfield in the register of students of Oxford University in 1575, and John Busfield, at the church of St Michael le Belfrey, York, August 23rd 1599. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Busfeld, which was dated 1342, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward lll, known as 'The Father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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